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Van Gogh Museum closing 6 months for renovations

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AMSTERDAM (AP) - The Van Gogh Museum is shutting its doors for six months for renovations starting next year, its director said Friday, becoming the latest major Dutch museum to close for reconstruction.

But dozens of the tormented Dutch impressionist's finest works will remain on public display, moving across the Amstel River to the Hermitage Amsterdam museum during the work, scheduled to last from October 2012 through March 2013.

Van Gogh Museum director Axel Rueger said some 75 paintings and other works will move to the Hermitage, which will be staging an exhibition on impressionism at the same time.

"Art lovers will be able to see a splendid survey of 19th-century art by Van Gogh and his contemporaries in the Hermitage Amsterdam," Rueger said. "This represents a rare opportunity, one not likely to happen again any time soon."

The nearby Rijksmuseum and Stedelijkmuseum both have been undergoing major renovations for years but have kept the best parts of their collections on display at other locations.

The Van Gogh Museum, which has some 1.5 million visitors each year, opened in 1973 on Amsterdam's central Museumplein.

Its original building was designed by renowned Dutch architect Gerrit Rietveld and a new exhibition wing designed by Japan's Kisho Kurokawa was opened in 1999.

Rueger said the museum now needs updating to ensure the security of visitors and its priceless collection of masterpieces.

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